Shaila Dewan and the Credibility of Rape Accusers

The New York Times published a piece by Shaila Dewan online to criticize the public for not believing any female who accuses any male of touchy-feely in the no-no place (after Garrison Keiller, it seems that the only place on a female that isn’t a no-no place is about a quarter-inch on her left big toe).

She took decades to come forward. She can’t remember exactly what happened. She sent friendly text messages to the same man she says assaulted her. She didn’t fight back.

“There’s something really unique about sexual assault in the way we think about it, which is pretty upside down from the way it actually operates,” said Kimberly A. Lonsway, a psychologist who conducts law enforcement training on sexual assault as the research director of End Violence Against Women International. “In so many instances when there’s something that is characteristic of assault, it causes us to doubt it.”

Partly this is because of widespread misconceptions. The public and the police vastly overestimate the incidence of false reports: The most solid, case-by-case examinations say that only 5 to 7 percent of sexual assault reports are false.

What happened to 2-10 percent? The narrative is ever-evolving. Also, how did this “solid” examination define a ‘false report’?

Nevertheless, relax guys! You only have a 5-7 percent chance of going prison on the say-so of a female. That’s a better chance of hitting than any state lottery.

But experts say that because many people are not psychologically prepared to accept how prevalent harassment and assault are, they tend to look for reasons to disbelieve. For example, offenders are more likely to choose victims who have been previously assaulted, statistics show, but a woman who reports more than one assault is less likely to be believed.

Really? We’re pathologizing skepticism now? We’re deploying the feminist head-shrinkers because some people have a preference for evidence over narratives?

Here is a look at some of the misconceptions that come up again and again when assessing whether a victim’s account is true.

This ought to be fun.

The victim doesn’t act like one.

A young woman said she was raped in a police van by two New York City officers, Eddie Martins and Richard Hall, in September. Their lawyers have accused the woman, who is 18, of posting “provocative” selfies and bragging about news media attention and the millions of dollars she expects to win in a civil case.

By provocative, you mean selfies displaying drugs and getting groped by porn actors at the age of 16-17.

“This behavior is unprecedented for a depressed victim of a vicious rape,” the lawyers wrote, according to The New York Post.

But victims behave in a wide variety of ways.

There is no one response to sexual assault. A trauma victim can as easily appear calm or flat as distraught or overtly angry.

In short, what Dewan would like for the reader to accept is the proposition that there is no behavior that a complaining witness can engage in that can diminish credibility, not even contradicting their own story or claiming pecuniary interest in offering testimony in a criminal trial (those millions of dollars she expects from a civil case against the city).

She stayed friendly with her abuser.

Some of the women who say Harvey Weinstein groped or assaulted them kept in contact with him afterward, saying that good relations with such a powerful player in the entertainment industry were a must for their careers. After the allegations against Mr. Weinstein were published in The New York Times, one of his advisers at the time, Lisa Bloom, sent an email to the directors of the Weinstein Company, outlining a plan that included the release of “photos of several of the accusers in very friendly poses with Harvey after his alleged misconduct.”

The females in Harvey’s harem prioritized their careers over revealing that Harvey Weinstein had a casting couch.

The victim may have little choice but to stay in contact if the offender is a boss, teacher, coach or relative.

Imagine that. When someone prioritizes personal profit over social good (becoming a rich and famous actress versus taking an alleged ‘groper’ off of the street), the average person who is likely to be a juror looks dubiously at their sudden moral development and rightly so. People look askance at jailhouse snitches for the same reason.

She did not come forward right away.

Leigh Corfman recently said that the Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama, Roy S. Moore, sexually assaulted her when she was 14, nearly four decades ago. She said she worried for years that going public would affect her children, and that her history of divorce and financial mistakes would undermine her account. After being approached by a Washington Post reporter, she agreed to tell her story, and later said, “If anything, this has cost me.”

Corfman had children at 14? Corfman was divorced at 14?

But negative consequences are not the only thing to keep victims from coming forward. Experts point to a more fundamental issue: When the perpetrator is someone they trusted, it can take years for victims even to identify what happened to them as a violation.

This is the direction we are headed in with feminism pushing the narrative. Feminists want do away with any objective standard of rape and implement Catharine MacKinnon’s definition:

“Politically, I call it rape whenever a woman has sex and feels violated.”

In that most feminist of worlds, rape will be whatever a female says it is, whenever she says it is, no matter if it days or decades later. She will have no legal or social duty pursue her complaint in a timely manner. Rape will be a freestanding accusation above the heads of all men, regardless of facts.

Her story does not add up.

Not only does memory fade with time, but when the brain’s fear circuitry is activated, the prefrontal cortex where details like sequence and locations are recorded tends to recede, while the part of the brain that records sensory memories kicks in.

Memory fades with time. That’s a sound argument for pursuing criminal charges closer in time to the event than decades away when the complaining witness’ comfort level has reached its peak and all associated memories of any favorable or exculpatory witnesses has faded.

She didn’t fight back.

When people are mugged or robbed, they are not asked why they did not resist.

Because, for whatever reason, the purse between a female’s legs is held to be more valuable than the one on she carries over her shoulder.

But in sexual assault cases, failure to resist can be one of the biggest sticking points for jurors. Often both sides acknowledge that a sex act occurred, and the question is whether it was consensual. Fighting back is viewed as an easy litmus test. But women are conditioned not to use violence.

Females are ‘conditioned’ (feminists are never clear as to WHO is doing this conditioning) to use violence, but only against those weaker than themselves (i.e. children, other females, and men who allow it).

This is the one point where I almost agree with Dewan. Jurors are usually very…myopic in their thinking. They like to imagine what they would have done when placed in a hazardous situation. Their views vary between the grandiose and the implausible. Resistance is the clearest and easiest evidence to present of unwanted sexual contact in much the same way a black eye or a scar is clear evidence of an assault.

Jurors love smoking guns and bright lines between the good guy and the bad buy.

As much as feminists hate it, a large number of rape cases come down to the complaining witness’ story versus the defendant’s denial plus presumption of innocence.

Even so, the victim faces scrutiny of her failure to resist, and of every decision she made before, during and after the ordeal. To contrast sexual assault with other types of crime, Ms. Valliere said, she often shows a photograph of the Boston Marathon bombing. “We never said to the victims, ‘Why were you in that marathon, why did you put yourself in that position, why didn’t you run faster, why didn’t you run slower?’

Because of the presentation of physical evidence (photos, videos, shrapnel, corpses, etc.) that would make such a question flat-out stupid? Because the asking of such a question would rightly destroy the querent’s credibility in the eyes of the jury and the judge?

And the whole ‘why didn’t you run faster’ question is irrelevant as the Tsarnaev brothers’ targets were the crowd, not the runners. Last I checked, on-lookers are typically not expected to do any running at a marathon.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s attorneys did not pursue a defense of denying the bombing happened or worse, try to argue that the victims were culpable, they argued that Dzhokhar was a helpless flunky, a pawn of his older brother’s plan to play jihad on the infidels.

That strategy didn’t work. ‘A powerful, domineering man made me do it’ is a defense that only seems to work when offered up by a female. Funny.

Feminists like Dewan have a view of witness credibility that doesn’t mesh well with reality. Feminists would like to conceal all personal and moral imperfections of a witness in a rape case from the juror’s eyes (rape shield laws). But credibility does not turn on a witness’ moral purity (though it doesn’t hurt it either): A witness is credible when they present a persuasive and consistent story and also have a good reason for how they know what they know.

I like to refer to Sammy Gravano as the most extreme example of a credible witness who was also absolute piece of shit. Gravano admitted to 19 murders in open court. Gravano, by no stretch of the human imagination, can be considered a morally upright human being (he started an Ectasy while in the Witness Protection Program). However, his testimony helped put the previously untouchable boss of the Gambino crime family, John Gotti, in prison for the rest of his life. Gravano was ‘economical’ with certain parts of the truth, but he admitted his part in the Gambino operations, his function in the organization, and how he knew Gotti was calling the shots.

Feminists will not serve anyone’s interests, not rape accusers, and not defendants who are in most need of protection from the legal system, by demanding that people shut their eyes to testimony and narratives that don’t make sense.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s